The IAFP – your passport to international markets

Posted in International on Wednesday, 06 January 2016. Print

Trading on a global level is rarely easy. As much as it promises opportunity, there’s significant risk involved. It's a good thing the IAFP is here to help …

The IAFP – your passport to international markets

Since it first became clear that some people showed more aptitude for making furniture than others, there’s been a supply chain. As trade became better established, what began as a simple relationship between maker and buyer saw the need for transporters and distributors arise, which increased alongside volumes and reach.

Despite the best efforts of the British manufacturing base, at least, the majority of us, driven principally by price, relax on sofas and dine at tables sourced far from our own shores – just as the technology we employ and the clothes we wear are predominantly manufactured abroad.

With some exceptions, furniture is now a global business – especially so since the industrialisation of China and the Far East –  driven by the need to match consumer demand with cost-effective labour and materials, and facilitated by advances in transport and communications.

That said, trading on a global level is rarely easy. As much as it promises opportunity, there’s significant risk involved. It’s a demanding process which presents barriers at every step – from currency to custom, language to logistics, the practice of import and export is not for the faint of heart, and I take my hat off to the people that make it happen.

For those businesses looking to conquer a new market, or eyeing the UK’s potential from afar, every journey must start somewhere, and, whilst we’re no Rosetta Stone, the member publications of the IAFP can help point would-be international traders in the right direction.

In 1997, representatives from Germany, the US, Japan and Australia formed the International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP), an exclusive network which aimed to encourage conversation between the world’s leading trade media – in turn, offering their readers and advertisers greater access to each member’s marketplace.

Now a well-established aid to international trade communications, the IAFP comprises 19 member publications from across the globe: Furnishing International, Australia; Meubihome, Belgium; Mobile Logista, Brazil; MD, Bulgaria; China Furniture; Courrier du Meuble, France; Mobelmarkt, Germany; IFJ, India; GDA Milano, Italy; Home Living, Japan; Gagu Guide, Korea; Moblaje, Mexico; Mobila/Magmob, Romania; Mebelny Biznes, Russia; Furniture & Furnishings International (Singapore); Cens Furniture, Taiwan; Furniturk, Turkey; Furniture News, UK; and Furniture Today, US.

Essentially, the IAFP provides access to a first-class editorial bureau in each member country, helping any prospective buyer or seller put their best foot forward in a new market. From helping national brands make their mark overseas and advising importers on their best route to market, to offering readers insight into global design trends and international exhibitions, the IAFP is an invaluable collaboration.

Through its website, global summits, regular meetings and sharing of best practices, the association strives to bring every element of the industry closer to the rest of the world – and I urge anyone with similar aims to explore its potential.

Paul Farley is the Marketing Director of the IAFP and the Editor of Furniture News magazine, the association’s UK member.


The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) is an association of the foremost trade publications from each country, based on quality editorial content and on circulation.